Don’t become Stuck. Move while you still have control.

Don’t become Stuck. Move while you still have control.

I see it all the time, people who are in their 70’s, 80’s or 90’s, and are now stuck in the family home they bought when their children were young.   I mean that literally.  Stuck.

They are now at a point where their physical or mental health is diminishing, and moving house is quite simply, beyond them.  The task is so daunting that it seems impossible, where would they even start?  It’s a job that’s just too big to tackle.  Also, they’ve been there so long, the idea of living somewhere else is frightening, and way outside their comfort zone.  In the end it’s just easier to not even start.  Just stay put.

Phrases I hear regularly; “Where would l even start?”.  “I’ve got 40 years worth of stuff here”.  “Where would I even go?”.  “I’ll never find somewhere else as convenient as this”.  Not to mention the memories; “This is where my kids grew up”.  “My memories of my husband/wife are all here”.  I hear one of these, at least once, every single day.

Now here is the saddest part of all this.  As a Real Estate Agent, I’m quite frequently doing appraisals for these people, I’m sure all agents are.  So these folk actually want to move, or at least know that it’s the sensible decision.  Yet, in my experience, they almost never do.  They inevitably are forced into a care facility when they can no longer look after themselves, or worse yet die there.  Then a few weeks or months later, their middle-aged children are forced to come in, and do a massive clean out of “40 years worth of stuff”.  90% of which ends up going in skip bins, then put Mum or Dad’s house on the market for sale.

I guess this happens a lot with older people, because they come from a generation where moving house wasn’t as common, and you never threw anything away.  You made do with what you had.  Which brings me to my point of writing all this. 

To those of you in your 60’s and 70’s who are considering downsizing, and are still able to.  My message is this:  Make a plan.  Start now before it’s too late.  If your current home isn’t suiting you as well as it could, maybe the stairs are giving you grief, or it’s just too big for you now.  Then it’s time to move.

There are lots of fantastic homes out there that can suit you better.  Or maybe an Over 50’s Living is the right choice for you.  There are so many options, you just have to open up your mind to the possibilities.  Moving isn’t as hard as you think.  An Agent can help you sell yours, and find another more suitable home.  Handymen can do the touch up repairs you might need, and Furniture Removalists can do the actual packing and moving for you.  A move can happen for you fairly easily, but do it now while you still have control and choice.  Don’t leave it too late so you become ‘stuck’, and the decision is no longer yours.  After all, it’s just a house.  New memories can be made, and new adventures had.  I promise you, lots of homes out there are just as convenient as yours.

To those with parents in this age bracket. My message is this:  It’s time for you to encourage them to consider embracing a change.  They might need help, or a bit of a push to make this move happen.  Just please, don’t let them become one of these isolated, lonely, trapped, older folk who I see on a regular basis.  Yes, you are probably busy, and don’t have time to go and help them de-clutter, but if they passed away tomorrow, guess what?  You are going to have to make time, to go and de-clutter their house anyway.  Do it now, and spend more time with them.  If your parent coming to live with you is the right option, then make it happen.  Or help them get into an Over 50’s Living, or whatever is the best move for them.  They spent years raising you, it’s time to help them get moved to a more suitable home.

The many older clients I’ve helped move over the years, I know have enjoyed life much more, in a home that suits them, and their lifestyle, in their later years.

Now at this point you might be thinking “he’s a real estate agent, of course he’s going to advocate for moving”.  Let me assure you.  The intent behind this is driven only by my distaste for frequently seeing scenarios with stuck older people, who would like to move, but end up dying alone.  Then only once they are gone, their family comes to clean out, and sell the house.  It’s so sad, and it really does seem to be a generational issue.  From my viewpoint of seeing people move house all the time, I know that the right home for people brings happiness, and because I do see it constantly, I know it’s a much simpler process than many older Australians believe it to be.

So, if you’re discussing putting in a chairlift, or a handrail, or modifying your home to suit certain limitations.  Perhaps it would be better to consider that maybe, it’s just time to move.  Don’t turn a family home into something it wasn’t meant to be, let a new family come and make new memories.

Make that move.  Don’t become stuck.  Enjoy living in a home that suits your age, and stage of life.  You are not your house.  Just like you wear different clothes to suit different weather, you can move to a different house to suit a different stage of life.

Written by Adam Scott